Monday, November 3, 2008

Eight 2008 Election Insight Returns

I voted early about three weeks ago.

Having early voting is cool. The head of elections in DeKalb County, Georgia got my vote.

Being ADHD, I don’t do too well standing in lines waiting.

They say that we may set a new record of people casting their ballot in the 2008 November election.

I won’t say who I voted for, but elections are a great source of insight when it comes to what is clicking and ticking in the marketplace.

Here are EIGHT 2008 Election Campaign observations and insights!

#1 — The Millenniums Are Here

About five years ago, I was telling clients that the 2008 election would be a watershed year of a generational shift in America.

The Millennium generation is just shy of the same size as the Boomer generation. They are web-weaned and high-energy lean.

More than two-thirds of Obama’s primary support was less than 35 years of age. More than two-thirds of Hillary’s primary support was age 45–64.

The oldest of the Millennium generation was born when Reagan became president and the Vietnam War is something that they perceive taking place way back in history.

What we have witnessed in this election is what is hitting the marketplace and the boardrooms!

#2 — Brands Rule

And the brand will rule.

It is all about packaging, defining the Emotional Ignition Point and delivering it at every touch-point of the brand experience.

Jerry Cronin, AdWeek’s creative director of the 1990’s may have said it best. When asked what makes great creative, great…he replied that great creative makes you crave the brand even if it might not make the most logical sense.

Few politicians ever get elected based on rational sense.

And few politicians ever make competitive headway using logic.

Brand Videos are cool things too.

Obama aired his 30 minute Brand Video last Wednesday night.

Do you have a Brand Video that you can air?

#3 — The Old Media Is Old And The New Media Is NOW

What’s news is really conveyed today through YouTube, Facebook, Apps and Blogs.

If you are reading this and you do not know what those items are, you need to think about changing your career.

More people viewed single videos on YouTube than they did political ads running on the fixed tube.

Facebook is where people connect.

Here are the “friend” counts as of Sunday 11/2/2008:
• Obama — 867,191
• McCain — 618,444
• Palin — 448,207
• Biden — 171,484

I know… it’s hard to think of all the typing that Biden would have to do to really say online what he says in-person.

Last week, Obama premiered an ad that invited viewers to try out a new app (that’s “a-p-p-l-i-c-a-t-i-o-n” as in software programs).

Obama’s app is a tax rebate calculator that you can use to compare his tax rebates against McCain’s.

Check it out… www.taxcut.baracobama.com.

And the Blogs are where the news really takes place in its most purist form!

Hey…Newspapers and News Networks…Be the best that you can be!

Be the press, not the blogs and keep the editorial limited to the editorial page!

#4 — Birds Of A Feather

If you ever doubt that “birds of a feather do flock together” and that “people of similar likes and dislikes don’t congregate together,” take a drive through your local neighborhoods and count the number of signs for one candidate versus the other.

Last Sunday I did just that…and it confirmed what I preach.

Neighborhoods cluster together around brands and politicians are no exception.

Here’s your question…why blanket markets with your message and not rifle target where you can get the vote?

#5 — Quantitative Research Isn’t The Textbook Predictor Any More

About a month ago, Ad Age ran an article about P&G (Proctor & Gamble) pulling in all its research partners and holding a summit regarding quantitative brand tracking studies.

P&G spends a lot of money on quantitative brand tracking research.

They told the research partners that they had an “aha” insight that the quantitative research studies are no longer the best avenue to understand customers.

Here’s reality statement #1:
More money has been invested in surveys in this election than the past four presidential elections all added up together.

Here’s reality statement #2:
There is such a degree of variance in what the statistical numbers say that few players actually believe the stats.

As we preach here at BrandVenture…there’s a bunch more insightful ways to get into the consumer headset than conventional surveys and research.

Better yet, the alternatives are cheaper than the conventional methodology.

And in the new economy…cheaper is also cooler!

#6 –Entrepreneurial Mavericks Lead Innovation

Consensus is a nicety, but the maverick personality of the typical entrepreneur is what drives innovation.

Think about individuals that have fostered success.

Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, Steve Jobs, Mary Kay Ash, Ted Turner, Estee Lauder, T. Boone Pickens and Oprah Winfrey are some that come to mind.

Each one of these has their set of critics who often question the rationale behind their visions and the like-ability of their personality.

The ability to lay claim of ownership to a visionary ideal and profess it with passion rallies support.

Politics is a wonderful platform to watch the model at work.

And those who do it rarely spend time claiming it.

#7 — Change Will Not Change

Change is the ignition point of this campaign race.

Some professors say that the Internet has lead to an ADHD epidemic.

I agree that more people today expect changes and actions to take place fast.

Most of us see change from the perspective of our computer screens.

As we sit back idyll at the desk, when a website comes up that we don’t like, we just click that mouse and move on to the next.

Consumers have high expectations. But, as we note in our 2009 TRENDCAST consumers are getting used to living in the “grey zone.”

Change will not just come from Washington nor will things change back to the way things used to be.

The market will change. The way we do business will change. And how we as people live our lives will change.

It will be a holistic experience of mind, body and soul — including the brand personas we market and buy!

#8 — Grassroots Drive Success

When Obama started his campaign, he was up against the big time, big money machine.

McCain ran his campaign on a shoe-string and many thought a year ago that he would soon write Chapter 11 of his campaign history book.

The machines didn’t win the nominations.

WSB Radio here in Atlanta ran a story that Obama has more people coordinating the voting precincts than any other candidate in recent time.

He is driving his vote literally on the local level.

Maybe its because he hasn’t been in Washington long that he sees value in the grass roots.

Maybe it’s even more likely because he comes from a background of community cause.

In our 2006 TRENDCAST, we talked about the consumer desire to dwell in the town square. We have seen it manifest in the outdoor malls and the new live/work/shop subdivision developments.

We all voice the need to connect and bond.

While Washington may think it has its hold on Change, it really comes down to us that live in the grass roots.

We are the ones who will move the country forward.

Perhaps the best investment that you can make today is to go out and get a nice coffee pot and some good coffee.

Then invite in your neighbors, business associates and friends over in the next few weeks for some good coffee chats about what is the next cool idea.

Hey! Go cast your vote, fill up your coffee pot and then let’s journey!

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Mark Kooyman

CEO & Discovery Chief at EXPERIENCE Insight Group, Inc. In the business to discover and craft brand experiences that humans seek out and engage in.